Sometimes, I just can't ignore a post when it's staring me right in the face. And this is one of those posts.
A few weeks ago, I was ironing (sorry...didn't mean to shock you like that. Occasionally, it happens) and anyway, I was watching an episode of Desperate Housewives (Season 5 on DVD). In the particular episode I was watching that day, Gabby's daughter was sent home from school because she had put on make up. Gabby was upset. "Why did you do that to yourself?" she asked. It was then she discovered her daughter had a copy of a magazine on which Gabby had graced the cover during her modelling days. It was then that it dawned on Gabby that her daughter was trying to look like her.
Anyway, Carlos (Gabby's husband for the non-Desperate Housewives devotees) then has an idea to show his daughter that looks aren't that important. He suggests that Gabby attend an award ceremony without her make up. As you can imagine, this did not go down well with Gabby at all, and even though she complies and attends the evening - barefaced - when, ah, faced with being photographed for a newspaper on the night, she can't help but wrestle some poor woman in the ladies for her make up so she can look "half decent" for the shot. Of course, her daughter is present and is subsequently upset that Gabby hasn't followed through with her promise, and Gabby, in turn, feels guilty that she couldn't stick with the no-makeup plan. Obviously, she was too concerned about what people would think.
Phew. Hope you got all that.
In any case, it's a no brainer that glamorous magazine covers can attract young girls, and young girls can feel that if they don't look as gorgeous as some model who has just had her hair and make up professionally done, and placed in front of some exotic background location, then they're obviously quite inferior by comparison. We know that it is not so, but an impressionable young girl is...well impressionable by nature, isn't she?
And then, I was reading this post of Thea's over at Do I Really Wanna Blog? about seeing bloggers' photos on their blogs and Twitter, and getting an impression based on those photos. Thea also talked about what an impression some may have of her based on her pics, and this struck a cord with me. I realised that many of us feel insecure about showing our true selves. I admit it...when I post a pic of myself, I choose one with a good angle. I make sure I have a bit of lippy on. Some face powder, mascara. Flattering lighting. I might even switch it to black and white. I've retouched shiny spots on my face (true)!
Currently, I have a fairly glam shot of myself on my Twitter account. The same shot is also used on Aussie Mummy Bloggers and a few other of my accounts. It was taken at a friend's 40th birthday party, and to be honest, I'm not sure if my friend photo-shopped it, because normally, you're bound to see a few more wrinkles around my eyes, as well as a little puffiness, than you do in that shot. Let's just say, it's safe to say I do not look like that picture often.
Why did I choose it? Why not a picture cropped from a cuddle with one of my kids or Hubby at the beach? Or why not some other pic from my iPhoto collection?
Well, because I want people to like the look of me. I want to present well. That's the easiest answer...but the deeper question that stems for that, is why do I feel the need to do this?
I'm always telling my boys to be themselves. "Be yourself," I say with conviction. "If people don't like you for who you are, that's their problem." And, "Don't worry about what people think. Who cares? Be your own man, and people will love you for it." I repeat these mantras over and over to my sons...even more than the one I constantly use when disciplining them: "Treat others how you want to be treated yourself." (And that's really saying something.)
So, am I setting an example for my boys? Am I "being myself" when I'm blogging and tweeting? I think I am when I write, but when I put up my pics, I fear that I am not. Not that I think that's all bad. We all want to "look nice", and there's nothing wrong with glamming it up on occasion. I mean, I'd rather look at celebs in all their garb then not. Doesn't mean I think they look less beautiful without the makeup - just that it's appealing and a bit of fun for viewing.
But should I be SO concerned about trying to look good?
After Thea's post, I also noticed this post from The Real Sydney over at Get Real, in which she applauded Kate Walsh (Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice) for turning up with no make up to an official event. Once again, I got to thinking about the makeup thing. How often do I go out without it? Hardly ever, if the truth be told. Usually I wear just a little face powder and mascara - often, some lipstick. Why don't I just go out without it? What am I so worried about?
And then the final hammer down on my little head...this week's WHO Magazine - Stars Without Makeup. Ok, so celebrities are celebrities, and bloggers are bloggers (who are, sometimes, also celebrities - but you know what I mean)...but in any case, that was it. I knew what had to be done.
So, for better or worse, here's how I really look. This shot was taken on Mother's Day. I have not long got out of bed. I've yet to wash my face, brush my teeth, or get out of my pjs. I haven't even brushed my hair. This, dear readers, is the "real me":
I got to thinking about the person I'm portraying out there in Blogland and Twitterland, and thought that perhaps it was time you saw...me.
And now, I wonder...does anyone else out there dare to bare?
Here's what I propose. This Friday 14 May, I am going to proclaim it "Bloggers Without Makeup Day", but open to bloggers and tweeps. I'm going to use the above photo on my Twitter account ALL DAY on Friday. I'm going to put a trending topic attached to it, #BloggersWithoutMakeup, and I'm going to show all of you the real me and, in turn, perhaps practice a bit of what I preach. If you have a blog, you could also post a pic like mine on your blog (if you dare) and tweet it on Friday.
I'm not going to quit the more glam shots all together. I just figured, why should we be afraid to show our true selves?
Anyway, even if you don't want to join me - that's ok. I'm doing this for me, and for my kids. Of course, the impact may have been greater if I'd had a girl. My boys will probably look at it someday and say, "Whatever," but it's the thought that counts. ;)
Anyone wanna put the flattering black & white shots behind, replace the wedding photos and the pics taken with your hair freshly coiffed, and join me?